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MOM’s take on collecting data on freelancers in Singapore

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Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) responded to pressing questions about the percentage of workforce that is engaged in freelance work or contract positions and permanent full-time jobs.

Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, answered MP Leon Perera’s parliamentary question on percentage of workforce who are engaged in freelance work, saying MOM has been publishing data on the number and percentage of freelancers since 1991. This data is collected and released on an annual basis as part of the Labour Force in Singapore report. Data on the proportion of term contract employees who are seeking permanent employment is not collected.

He pointed out that both permanent and term contract workers are in employer-employee relationships which are governed by various employment laws such as the Employment Act, Employment Claims Act and CPF act. The option to choose between permanent and contract employment helps to keep the labour market flexible and responsive, he added.

Employers may wish to employ employees on term contracts when, the job is only available on a temporary or project basis. On employees’ end, some may prefer to enter into term contracts to meet their own need for flexibility.

During the Committee of Supply debate in March, MOM has started collecting data on the proportion who are not freelancing as their preferred choice starting from 2016. Data collected will be published on an annual basis.

Additionally, those who prefer permanent employment can tap on the Adapt & Grow initiative, where their pursuit of preferred employment options can be facilitated.

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